A week ago a tragic incident took place in Naperville. A man’s life was taken and .
Friends, family and even those wholly unconnected to , who was stabbed to death early in the morning of Feb. 4 were left asking: Why? Why did such a thing happen? Why did a man, , who claimed – on his Facebook page – to be Christian take the life of another person? How could such a thing happen?
We approached Rev. Mark Winters seeking answers and found he was just as perplexed as everyone else. Winters is the pastor at the in Naperville.
When such a tragedy happens, it is easy to wonder where is God?
“There are a number of responses to this — a lot of times people say God is in the compassionate response of family and friends; that when horrible things happen, God is in the kindness of strangers, the hugs, the tears, the stories of our lost loved one, all those things that bring us some solace or sense of comfort in the despair,” Winters said.
Just as other residents in have wrestled with what happened, so has Winters, he said. As he has contemplated the matter, he has grown to see a connection between the silence of the victims and the silence of God.
Winters relates a story in the Bible in Genesis 34 about Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, who is raped. “Throughout the attack, and the ensuing retributive violence, Dinah never says a word. Nor, for that matter, does God. I think there is an allegory there, about God joining in solidarity with the one who has been silenced," Winters said. "So, I wonder if somehow, in silencing the voice of another person, an attacker has also silenced God.
“As a Christian, I understand my relationship with other people as directly related to my relationship with God," Winters said. "I am taught to love God, and love my neighbor as myself. Jesus makes this more clear in Matthew 25, that as we treat the least of those who are our brothers and sisters, whether with kindness or indifference, it is as if we are treating Jesus himself with that same kindness or indifference.”
The actions of taking another life are in essence a rejection of God, he said.
“In my view, it isn't about [Daniel Olaska] saving his soul from condemnation, but about reconciling himself to a God he rejected so aggressively in his taking of Shaun's life,” Winters said. “The question is not whether people or God can forgive him, but whether he can ever find God, and express a faith in God by treating people accordingly.”